Eddie Irvine wins court case but faces huge bill

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The Formula One driver Eddie Irvine ended up with a legal bill of up to £300,000 from a High Court tussle with a radio station yesterday, despite winning the case.

The Jaguar team's senior driver had accused TalkSport of exploiting his celebrity image by using a "doctored" photograph of him in promotional material in 1999. The station, run by the former editor of The Sun Kelvin MacKenzie, had sent out an advertising brochure with a picture of Mr Irvine dressed in racing gear in which a mobile phone held to his ear had been substituted with a radio bearing its name.

The judge, Mr Justice Laddie, ruled in favour of the driver, and said he should receive damages of £2,000 – a "reasonable endorsement fee". However, he ordered that because Mr Irvine, 36, had rejected TalkSport's higher out-of-court offer of £5,000 in April he should pay both his and the station's costs.Although these have yet to be assessed lawyers estimated that Irvine could be left with a bill of up to £300,000.

Mr Irvine, a multi-millionaire from his 10 years on the Grand Prix circuit, had claimed the station had misrepresented his image. His lawyers argued that recipients of the image were likely to be deceived into believing that Mr Irvine had endorsed or approved the station.